LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS OPPOSE STUDENTS’ MOVE TO DIVEST UCSD FROM COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS WITH ISRAEL

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By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2013 (San Diego) – The University of California San Diego (UCSD) Associated Student Council will vote March 6 on a resolution calling for the university to divest in companies doing business with Israel, due to an allegation that Israel is an “apartheid state.” 

The measure has sparked controversy on campus and outrage among Jewish groups. Now two San Diego Congressional members, representatives Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, have sent letters to Student Council president Meggie Le, urging opposition to the resolution.

“As a member of Congress who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, there has been no credible proof that defines Israel as an “apartheid” state,” wrote Vargas. “In fact, Israel is the only country in the Middle East with protection for free speech, free press, religious freedom, women’s rights and gay rights.”

Vargas added that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with a “true and functional democratic government.”

Davis observed, “All citizens of Israel have full voting rights without regard to race or ethnicity.  In fact, Israel’s democratically-elected parliament includes 12 members who are of Arab descent.”

The Congresswoman added that targeting the only Jewish state for severe sanctions is “deeply troubling” and that she believes the resolution could cause Jewish students to feel “unwelcome and marginalized.”  She urged, “Let us move beyond inflammatory rhetoric and work together to pursue a true and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Tritons for Israel, a student group, has also come out strongly against the measure. “The Divestment resolution of 2013 at UCSD, denouncing the State of Israel and the legitimacy of the homeland of millions of Jews around the world, is now open to the public to vote on, the group’s website states.” As Tritons for Israel, we vehemently oppose this resolution for its harsh and condemning language, its fallacies and inconsistencies, and its manipulation of facts.”

The group has set up a link for people to voice disapproval of the resolution: http://sovac.ucsd.edu/oval/list_upcoming.php

The resolution includes language stating that “ASUCSD supports the indigenous Palestinian people in their struggle against a colonial occupier” and further states that “UC assets do not include holdings in General Electric, Northrop Grumman, Caterpillar Inc., Alliant Techsystems, Boeing, General Dynamics Corporation, Globecomm Systems, Hewlett Packard, Ingersoll-Rand, ITT Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Motorola Systems, Raytheon, Silicon Graphics, Terex, United Technologies, and Valero Energy Corporation and all other companies that profit off the military occupation of and violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people.”

The resolution goes far beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, to state that “this ASUCSD resolution takes a stance in support of UC San Diego corporate accountability through divestment from all corporations profiting from all violent conflict.”

View text of resolution: http://mondoweiss.net/2013/02/divestment-occupation-palestinian.html

View Davis letter:

http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1109317602219-240/Congresswoman+Susan+Davis+letter+against+divestment.pdf

View Vargas letter:

http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1109317602219-239/Congressman+Juan+Vargas%27+letter+against+divestment.pdf